November 21, 2008
Today the Knicks were able to come to terms on two major deals that are going to greatly change the face of the LeBron James Lottery of 2010.
Their first deal to come across the wires was the bigger of the two. The Knicks made a straight-up trade of guard Jamal Crawford for the Golden State Warriors forward Al Harrington.
For most teams, this trade would mean that they are trying to acquire a young talent who has multiple years left on his contract. For the Knicks, this sends a completely different message to the media, as well as, their fan base.
Harrington's contract is set to expire the same off-season that James' contract is set to expire. This not only alleviates them of Crawford's contract, but it also gives them an up close and personal look at a player who could become a sidekick to James if he plays extremely well.
The reason they could still get James if they decide to re-sign Harrington after the 2010 season is because they also made a deal with the Los Angeles Clippers to send Zach Randolph and Mardy Collins to Los Angeles in return for Tim Thomas and Cuttino Mobley.
The biggest part of this deal was the Zach Randolph trade. He was due to make more than $17 million in the 2010-11 season, which would seriously hinder the Knicks' ability to build around LeBron if they were able to get him.
Collins was also due to make another $2 million in the 2010-11 season. Both Tim Thomas and Mobley have contracts that expire after the 2009-10 season, freeing up even more money for LeBron.
Eddy Curry and Jared Jeffries have about $17 million in combined salary and both have player options to leave the team, but with $11 million going to Curry and $6 million going to Jeffries, it is likely that both could opt to stay with the team.
Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari are both subject to club options in the 2010 off-season, which could also clear up more space if both Curry and Jeffries were to stay with the team and they needed the extra space. With all things staying the same, the Knicks could return none of their players on the current roster for the 2010-11 season.
What the Knicks seem to be doing is not only going on a run for LeBron James, but also for another star to play alongside him. They could be looking for a player such as Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, or even Amare Stoudemire.
With the new developments for the Knicks, they get a head start on the New Jersey Nets who could also make a big run for LeBron. The Nets also have a lot of contracts that either expire or have club options by the 2010 off-season.
The only three players locked in for the 2010-11 season for the Nets are Vince Carter ($17.3 million salary in 2010-11), Eduardo Najera ($2.8 million) and Keyon Dooling ($3.8 million).
The Knicks could realistically only return one contract that season, hit the 2010 off-season ready to make major moves, and begin adding pieces for a new team. The Knicks are no longer playing for today, but playing for LeBron James, who could just be their savior.
I'm Joe W.
Information for this article was found at ESPN.com and HoopsHype.com
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